02.12.2020

Old New Year’s Eve in Moscow

Have one last blast of fun before the holiday ends
The city's Journey Into Christmas festival officially ends on Sunday after over 3 million visitors have enjoyed it.

The city’s Journey Into Christmas festival officially ends on Sunday after over 3 million visitors have enjoyed it.

mos.ru

The great
thing about the end-of-the-year holidays in Russia is that you get to celebrate
everything twice: “Western” Christmas and Orthodox Christmas, New Year’s and “Old”
New Year’s. The final bash is this weekend, which will officially end the
month-long party.

The
Oxymoron Holiday

Old New
Year’s is Dec.31-Jan.1 according to the Julian calendar, which secular
Russia abandoned in 1918 but which the Russian Orthodox Church has kept. It
falls on Jan.13-14 according to the “new” Gregorian calendar, that is, the
calendar we currently use.

For devout
Orthodox Christians who were fasting until Christmas on Jan. 7, it’s a chance
to celebrate the new year with champagne, vodka, and all the traditional dishes
forbidden by the fast. For everyone else, it’s a chance to celebrate the new
year again. Because: why not?

Vareniki, tender pockets of dough, play a starring role in Old New Year's celebrations.

Vareniki, tender pockets of dough, play a starring role in Old New Year’s celebrations.

Pixabay

Traditions and Superstitions

Of course,
there are omens and superstitions dating way back to… the 1950s or whenever practicing
Christians began to celebrate Old New Year in Soviet Russia. Most of them seem to be
traditional for St. Basil’s Day, the feast day celebrated on Jan 1 “old
calendar” and Jan 14 “new calendar.” For example, if on Old New Year’s the wind
blows from the south, the summer will be hot with a good harvest. If it blows
from the West, there will be an abundance of milk and fish. And if the sky is
clear and full of stars, it will be a good year for berries.

The old
omens do not, however, provide information about the outcome of presidential
elections, the value of the Bitcoin, or which houses will fall under the
Renovation project in Moscow.

But
generously sharing your table with friends and neighbors to a meal that includes blinis and
roast pork – St. Basil is the patron saint of swineherds – decorating the house, and dressing in your finest clothes is a great way to ensure a prosperous year
for you and your family.

One Muscovite
originally from the south of Russia has a special family tradition for Jan. 13.
She and her women friends get together and make vareniki, dough pockets filled
with potatoes and sautéed pickled cabbage. Inside the filling they hide tiny
surprises, and when they sit down to eat, they bite into the vareniki carefully
to see what the year will bring. A coin means prosperity; a ring means a wedding;
a thread indicates travel; a carrot means you’ll take a lover ; a bit of dill
means good health; a button means you’ll get some new items; and a pea means
adventure. 

Give it a try! Just be careful how you bite into your vareniki. Starting the new year at the dentist’s is not one of the good surprises.

City
Celebrations

This
weekend ends Moscow’s celebrations, so if you haven’t had a chance to stroll
among the Christmas trees, chalets, and spectacular lights – head to the city
center. On Sat. Kamergersky Pereulok is the place to be with your children:
there will be interactive fairy tales and concerts from 4 to 7 p.m. Tverskoi Bulvar
will offer strolling musicians and theatrical performances. If you are a
foodie, consider taking a culinary master class at 41 Profsoyuznaya Ulitsa,
where from noon to 6:45 p.m. chefs will teach you how to make Austrian, Irish,
Scottish and Greek specialities.

On Sun.
Kamergersky will continue to be fairy tale central. On Novopushkinskaya
Ploshchad you can enjoy the last ballets on ice and concerts of traditional
Christmas folk music. And from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on both days you can try to
keep from breaking your leg at the snowboard park in front of 21 Novy Arbat.

For more
information, see the holiday site. 

Enjoy a Old New Year's Brunch to see out 2017.

Enjoy a Old New Year’s Brunch to see out 2017.

Pexels

See the Old
Year Out in Style

Since now
we’re really serious about saying good-bye to 2017, consider doing it in style.
The Renaissance Monarch Center Hotel is offering a special brunch at noon on Sat. Delicious
food, tempting drinks, a luxurious setting and excellent service – and no
cooking or washing up – might be just the best way to end the year. Kids
welcome – in fact, children under age five are free. For more information, see
the Monarch Center site.

Muzeon has one of the best tubing chutes in town.

Muzeon has one of the best tubing chutes in town.

Muzeon

Tube Your
Way into the New Year

Muzeon has
teamed up with the Roza Khutor resort to offer a truly fabulous tube chute near
the Moscow River Embankment. Lines are long but judging by the shouts of joy
and huge smiles, it’s worth it. Kid’s seem to like it, too. It’s open 10 a.m.
to 10 p.m. on both days – in fact, every day but Monday until March 2 or a period
when temperatures stay consistently above freezing. On the weekends, a big tube
is 200 rubles for 30 minutes and 300 for an hour; a small tube is 150 rubles
for 30 minutes and 200 for an hour; and entrance to people who bring their own
tube is 50 rubles for 30 minutes, 100 rubles for an hour – and they get a round of
applause.

This is
just one of the many delights of Gorky Park and Muzeon, which also include
skating, snowboarding, strolling, eating, drinking and checking out the latest
shows at Garage Museum of Contemporary Art.

Celebrate your desire to blow things up at one of the city's designated sites.

Celebrate your desire to blow things up at one of the city’s designated sites.

Moskva News Agency

Parks and Fireworks

Virtually
all of Moscow’s parks will be open for skating, tubing, snowboarding, skiing
and other outdoor winter fun – now that winter has stopped in for a few days –
so consider a weekend outdoors. If you have not gotten your fill of rockets,
sparklers, and other forms of pyrotechnical sound and fury, pick some up, grab
your heavy gloves and goggles, and head to one of 78 places in Moscow where you
can legally set them off. 

Have fun far away from your neighbors, whose babies,
grannies and pets want to get some sleep. For the list in Russian, see the city
site.

Let your pets destroy your tree in peace and quiet.

Let your pets destroy your tree in peace and quiet.

Pexels

themoscowtimes.com

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